When it comes to NFL success for any NFL quarterback, timing is everything. Next on the list of important metrics would probably be location, location, location. However, none of the aforementioned metrics means anything without the most important metric of all: talent.
Recently signed free agent newcomer Mitchell Trubisky definitely has talent. The kind of athletic talent that warranted the second overall selection of the 2017 NFL Draft for the Chicago Bears. That selection reveals the importance of location.
The Chicago Bears are one of the oldest and most storied franchise in NFL history. Names like George Halas, Gale Sayers, Mike Ditka, and the legendary Walter Payton immediately come to mind. There are plenty of other Hall of Fame names worth mentioning, but there is one glaring position that lacks a distinguished namesake: quarterback.
Chicago is where quarterback careers go to die, making the Bears basically a quarterback graveyard. As if the Bears knew how to recognize and develop quarterback talent in the first place, an ability that they have yet to display in their history of ineptitude at the position.
The 1985 Super Bowl Shuffle squad was lead by the infamous wild child Jim McMahon, a player best remembered for his hairstyle and erratic behavior, more so than his passing prowess. That being said, McMahon is arguably the best quarterback in Bears history. Let’s put it this way, there were many occasions during Walter Payton’s illustrious career where the best quarterback on the roster was…Walter Payton. I am only half joking about that, as Payton was an accomplished passer, good enough to fill in as the signal caller in a pinch.
Trubisky had the distinguished opportunity, or the misfortune, depending on how you look at it, to be the starting quarterback for the Chicago Bears for the majority of his four years with the franchise. He helped lead the Bears to the playoffs in two of his four years with the team. Believe it or not; his 10,609 passing yards, 64 touchdown passes, and 1057 rushing yards, plus the aforementioned two playoff appearances, makes him one of the best quarterbacks in Bears history. This from a young man who many Bears fans consider a bust. Anyone else noticing a trend here? A common denominator if you will. Maybe Trubisky wasn’t the problem.
Now Trubisky finds himself with the most stable franchise in the NFL. The franchise with the most overall wins in the modern NFL era, and tied for the most Super Bowl titles with six total. By the way, the most successful and consistent organization in the sport has had three Hall of Fame caliber head coaches during that same timeframe, total. Not only have the Steelers had two Hall of Fame caliber, face of the franchise quarterbacks in Terry Bradshaw and Ben Roethlisberger, they actually drafted and developed both.
Trubisky must feel like he has escaped purgatory and gained access to the NFL version of Valhalla. Fresh off a 2021 season that saw him as the seldom used, primary backup for Pro Bowl quarterback Josh Allen with the Buffalo Bills, Trubisky signed a two year free agency contract with the Pittsburgh Steelers. After being the perceived best option on the free agent market at quarterback, he finds himself in an enviable position with the Steelers.
Although he currently is engaged in the early stages of what is presumably a three man, open quarterback competition with incumbent Mason Rudolph and 2021 first round selection Kenny Pickett, Trubisky’s starting experience and first round pedigree likely gives him a leg up in the competition. He will enter training camp number one on the depth chart.
This is Trubisky’s best chance for sustained NFL success. Whoever said that you never get a second chance to make a first impression definitely wasn’t talking about Mitch Trubisky.
This opportunity with the Steelers could be viewed as his first real chance to show all he is capable of. He seems like an ideal fit for the Steelers new look offense that is currently being installed by offensive coordinator Matt Canada. I say new look because nobody in the league, and Steelers Nation for that matter, has yet to witness an accurate representation of what Canada’s offense will look like. That should at least begin to change after the Steelers spent the entire offseason acquiring players with skill sets that appear to fit his system. Now it’s put up or shut up time for Matt Canada in Pittsburgh.
Trubisky’s athleticism should mess perfectly with the assortment of play-action and designed rollouts required in Canada’s offense. His mobility will be a huge asset to the Steelers young and reconstructed offensive line, giving them much greater room for the inevitable error. Although he will still only be a 28 year old entering his sixth NFL season by the start of the 2022, he will be essentially a graybeard in the Steelers incredibly youthful offense. His experience in the heat of battle could bring valuable leadership qualities, and a calming presence in the huddle. He is well known as a respectable and affable young man.
Trubisky will easily be surrounded by the most talented group of skill position players he has ever had the privilege of leading as a starting quarterback. One could argue an even better group than the one he got to watch perform in Buffalo last season.
Although Trubisky really didn’t get any meaningful minutes in his one year hiatus with the Super Bowl contending Buffalo Bills, he did get the invaluable opportunity to see what a well constructed and coached operation looks like, expertly lead by a young franchise QB.
Now he has to out perform the competition, and seize this golden opportunity to show whether or not he is capable of doing the same.